Well, Well, Well, The Uncharted Movie Has Arrived and It's… Alright?

As a massive Uncharted fan, the day they announced the movie, I immediately went into panic mode. Why? Well, let’s be honest here. There aren’t many actually GOOD video game movies out there.  So the fact that the people behind this film wanted to turn these already incredibly cinematic games into movies that were basically very long films by themselves—it definitely scared me. How will they translate more than 20 hours long game runs? Who will they cast? Which game will they adapt? I mean, there are 4 main Uncharted games about Nathan Drake out there.

Now that we have all the answers to all these questions, it's time to review the final result that seems to be dividing critics and fans as the movie has a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score from the critics but a high 90% from the fans. Who’s right? Warning, this is going to be a treasure trove of SPOILERS! 

I have to go all the way back to the marketing campaign. It was brilliant, and it definitely helped me adjust my expectations. The behind-the-scenes look with Neil Druckmann and Tom Holland talking about the movie’s take on the game was key. They assured us that this is their own spin on the story of the games, and we won’t be getting a word-for-word adaptation. That helped me keep an open mind about the film. Adding to that was Nolan North’s honest support from the beginning: if Nathan Drake himself says it’s gonna be good, you should listen to the man. 

And here’s the thing… It is a really fun ride from beginning to end.

Tom Holland as Nathan Drake

It was a great choice not to adapt one specific story from the games but, instead, put together their own origin story for Holland’s Drake. I'm also a hardcore fan of seeing familiar things referenced in new stories, like the orphanage from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End along with Sam and Nate’s beginnings. Even though I originally hated that Mark Wahlberg’s Sully didn’t have a mustache, the feeling disappeared pretty quickly, seeing the chemistry between him and Tom Holland is one of the bright spots of the film.

Hold up! Before I get too deep into the good stuff, let me do a run-through of things that weren’t great at all. And I will start with the one that bothers me immensely. 

Here's what I didn't like in the movie. 

Chloe Frazer. It wasn’t her. Simple as that. No hate towards the actress at all (Sophia Ali) who tried her best, but this role definitely wasn’t for her. What annoyed me the most is that they downgraded Chloe’s character (and Sully’s for that matter) in order to make Nate appear smarter. In the game franchise, Chloe is just as knowledgeable as Nate. In this film, though, she barely adds anything to the actual treasure hunt. She feels like a tag along character, it’s always Nate who figures things out, there’s only one or two instances where she adds anything to solve the puzzle and it’s the tiniest bit. She was there, sure. She did things, yes.

But it was nowhere near to the badass, smart, witty, great con artist she is in the games. I missed her remarks towards Nate. She radiated confidence in the games, but here I didn’t feel any of that. Most importantly she didn’t have any chemistry at all with Nate or Sully. As much as you could feel it between Wahlberg and Holland it was basically non-existent between her and the others. The only thing that really felt like the Chloe we have come to love from the games is her ability to play both sides of the conflict for her personal gain. She's a chaotic neutral character so it's great to see that come to life in the film as well. 

Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazer

Chloe is one of my all-time favorite video game characters, and I’ve found my way into cosplaying through that character. Therefore not really seeing the tiniest bit of resemblance (even in the clothes or hair like they did with Nate) was very disappointing. Moving forward, the writers need to really flesh her out more when it comes to her in possible future films for me to be able to say ‘Yes, this is it.’ But, to be fully honest, based on this movie I also don’t think that Sophia Ali can bring the whole energy and aura that Chloe has.

The "enemies" of the story, Antonio Banderas’ Santiago Moncada and Tati Gabrielle’s Braddock, were both incredibly underdeveloped, probably because of the small amount of time they had to fit them in. This is another disadvantage that watching a movie has compared to playing a game. All the villainous characters from the games were memorable, but not just because they were formidable (Braddock in the movie), but also because we had the time to get to know their motives and them a lot better. The backstory to the Moncada family could be fully left out in this film and it wouldn’t affect anything in the story. In fact, his whole character could be scrapped out entirely streamlining the runtime and giving the more interesting villain more screen time. Speaking of, the character Braddock is giving off some serious Nadine Ross vibes (a mercenary in Uncharted 4). Her introduction in the film has similarities to Nadine’s story arc in the fourth game and even her position as a mercenary leader. But we barely got to know her at all. Although they hinted at her connection to Sully multiple times it was never entirely clear what happened between them.

Now back to the good things. 

First up: Nathan Drake. I can say with a big smile on my face that Tom Holland was an excellent choice. It is so obvious throughout the entire movie that he loves playing Nate, and that warmed my heart. During the fight scenes or when they are on the actual treasure hunt itself, you could just feel it on his every move and the way his face lit up. I loved how they built him up from a petty thief to the treasure hunter who we all love so much. Smart-mouth all around, a bit clumsy sometimes—it was his first time running after treasure after all. He really did a kickass job with the character. Although they changed Nate’s origin story (he didn’t escape from the orphanage with Sam, his whole introduction to Sully is different) but I can see his Nathan Drake turn into Nolan North’s (Uncharted game series) wise cracking older Drake in future installments. 

Sully (Mark Wahlberg) and Nate (Tom Holland) on a 16th century ship.
Sully (Mark Wahlberg) and Nate (Tom Holland) work together to protect the treasure.

Next, Sully got “upgraded.” He is more involved in the action, but of course that’s because he is much younger in the film vs the games where he is quite a bit older. I thought that Wahlberg was pretty fun in the role and really made a great team with Tom Holland. The creators were onto something when they paired them up. In the games, Sully’s character wasn’t as knowledgeable as Nate, Chloe, or Sam, but he definitely knew his way around and picked up on things really quickly. Even though Sully in the movie started out a bit cold-hearted and selfish, the writers slowly built him up to be the character we all love. He begins to care about Nate and even a cat that becomes a recurring joke throughout the film.Through this, I was once again reminded that this is an origin story for both us game fans and for those who knew nothing about the games beforehand.

I also absolutely adored that they choose to open the movie in a similar manner to the second and the fourth game where we get a glimpse into the trouble that our hero gets into later on in the story. It all starts with the scene we already saw in the trailers, the whole falling out of the plane with the crates bit, timeline-wise it happens closer to the climax. That’s exactly how they opened Uncharted 2 where Nate wakes up in a train that’s hanging down from the edge of the cliff. Uncharted 4 opens with Nate and Sam on the sea trying to get away from the mercenaries chasing them. Such a good callback. There were a lot of callbacks like that along the way. Some made me smile, others made me straight-up giggle. There was even one where I literally gasped and laughed at the same time. Lagasped? I don’t know, but I do know that my loud reaction came as a surprise to all the fellow people in the cinema. 

Nolan North talking to Tom Holland on the set of Uncharted.
Nolan North talking to Tom Holland on the set of Uncharted.

And, of course, Nolan's cameo in the movie is no longer a secret. I don’t even know if it was secret to begin with: I think we all expected it since cameos in movies from the original actors are pretty common (Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser in Starsky and Hutch etc.), and Tom Holland obviously “spoiled” it during his Jacksepticeye video appearance. If there were other people in the cinema with me who played the games, they either didn’t recognize Nolan or were very quiet about it. What it confirmed for me is how many people watch these movies without knowing anything about the games. 

The action throughout the movie was spectacular, and it was very clear that they put all they had into those sequences. It didn’t just come out as fun but also extremely exciting. A big highlight was the part where Nathan and Sully fight together in the end, it was the peak of their chemistry, and it made the movie even more enjoyable.I loved how it was the first time they fought side to side and they were able to help each other, the whole choreography of the scene added so much to it.  

The treasure hunting parts themselves were also well done, even if the puzzles got solved a bit too quickly to my liking and didn’t really come close to what we experience in the games. What I mean here is the secret entrances to tombs or hidden temples that no one has ever been in, but our main characters run through them like it’s nothing, figuring stuff out almost without a problem. Sure, this is the result of the time limit they have when it comes to movies. I also think that it is a common problem when it comes to movies like this. 

Sully and Nate walk through an old church following the next clue in their treasure hunt. Nate shines a flashlight on the wall.
The treasure hunt begins.

All together, what we got is a very fun movie that pulls away enough from the game to be different but definitely keeps important details enough to feel familiar to the fans. It was a welcome surprise how much I actually liked it, and it is easily among the better game adaptations I’ve seen so far. Then again, given the part about movies that were based on games, this wasn't a hard trophy to earn. There’s an after-credits scene where the filmmakers open the door for even more live-action adventures for Nate and Sully. The movie already made $44,155,000 on opening weekend in the US so we can most likely expect news of a second movie, which I honestly wouldn’t mind at all. 

And don't forget: Sic Parvis Magna - Great things from small beginnings. Alright, my fellow Uncharted game fans, have you seen the Uncharted movie yet? What were your impressions? Let's get out those good and bad reactions in the comments!

Uncharted Movie Trailer 2 Breakdown

Sony and Playstation dropped a longer second Uncharted movie trailer that gives us a LOT more footage, one-liners, crazy action set pieces, and wait for it... a Sully mustache! Sony clearly hoping this will quell fans' fervor over the Mark Wahlberg casting as Victor Sullivan. If you haven't seen the trailer yet check it out below then let's break it all down.

Overall this trailer gives away WAY too much. There's a lot in here that I would've loved to be surprised by. The first Teaser Trailer that dropped did a much better job at getting fans and newcomers a taste of what's to come. The teaser also had a needle drop from Led Zeplin that gave it a bit more panache. Let's go through it scene by scene.

We've seen this scene from the Teaser Trailer. Based on the banter this is how Sully and Nate meet but there's a good chance Sully's had his eye on Nathan Drake for a while from afar and now's the time to bring Nate into the life of adventure.

It's not an Uncharted film unless we get a bit of a history lesson. Here we see some foreshadowing on the lost Magellan ships that Nate and Sully will be looking for along with a brief write-up in the pages about the 5 ships and 270 men Magellan set sail with but lost 4 of the 5 ships and only 18 men survived his journey. Feel free to zoom in or hit the Wikipedia page for how the ships were lost.

Nate looks around what's probably either Victor Sullivan's room or Antonio Banderas character (Moncada?) study both of whom are obsessed with finding the lost Magellan treasure (5 billion dollars worth of treasure we learn in dialogue). Really digging the set design and lighting here.

This is where things get interesting. An old Carrack class ship rising out of the water. I'm not seeing any floats or wires attached to the boat. So unless this is channeling some supernatural Pirates of the Caribbean ghost ship themes this is a bit of a mystery on how this ship is doing this. If you have theories post them in the comments. The next shot we even see the tattered sail unfurl but by who...possible flashback?

It's Antonio Banderas storytime. Narrating the first part of the trailer is the sexy Banderas voice, giving us the history lesson on the lost treasure. "500 years ago my family found the world's biggest fortune...then was betrayed." "So much blood" Sounds like either Moncada is a Magellan ancestor or more likely was a crewman on one of the ships Magellan led and was betrayed by Magellan because you know...greed.

Puzzle-solving time. There is a lot of footage out of order here and it's pretty obvious. This is clearly later in the film after they've stolen the cross and found the map that gives them the clear where the treasure is buried. Nice shot though.

Giving off some strong UC3 and UC4 game vibes as well as a bit of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... all clues are hidden in old churches. This looks like Nate (Tom Holland), Sully (Mark Wahlberg), and Chloe (played by Sophia Taylor Ali).

Yay! Uncharted puzzle! Although this one doesn't seem really complicated like the ones found in the games. Turn clockwise isn't exactly clever. They make a joke about it to put a pin on the idea that this puzzle and booby trap is kinda lame. It's not that funny and Nate kinda comes off less witty and funny and a little too serious. I guess he was more serious when he was younger? This sequence takes place after they steal the cross from Moncada and most likely this opens up a passage into the underbelly of the church where the real prize lies...probably a map.

Here we are tomb raiding with Nate and Chloe. I'm guessing this is below the church from the previous shot. Chloe looks like she's having a blast while Nate again seems frustrated. If they do make Nate the straight edge to Chloe and Sully's comedy that will be a huge character departure from the games.

The hero and villain meet. Pulled right from Uncharted 4 there is an auction going on and both Nate and Sully and Moncada want the jeweled cross and Sully bids on the cross while Nate distracts everyone so they can steal the cross under everyone's noses. "This cross has a very tragic history. So much blood." Moncada warns Nate here.

Nate is good at distracting people by using his inhuman ability to climb and swing from things while escaping from security. To be fair his line "This is gonna suck." followed by "ahhhh" are pretty much want I expect Drake to say before leaping off a balcony and swinging on a light chandelier.

No surprise here. Nate and Sully swipe the cross and Sully's using it as a teaching lesson. This is likely pretty early on in the film soon after Nate and Sully team up. The cross is the first piece of the puzzle.

The famous plane sequence from Uncharted 3 video game is again shown briefly here. There's more footage in the teaser trailer. While some don't like that this looks shot for shot the same as the game even the car gag at the end knocking him off the plane after working really hard to climb his way back in. I for one am excited to see it come to life in live-action. It's one of the best set pieces from all the Uncharted games and it's no surprise why they wanted to use it for the film. It's going to be awesome.

Another moment that feels like it's pulled right from the games is Nate driving this speed boat across the blue Caribbean waters that are a big part of Uncharted 4's gameplay. It's another beautiful shot and we see Nate is alone here and not with either Sully or Chloe. This is likely after the plane sequence and Nate has to catch up with the bad guys and hopes that Sully and Chloe stay out of trouble before he arrives to save the day.

He's our first look at what's probably Nate's apt. (that lighting is on point. Even if the film's story isn't good. This movie looks great.) He's opening a chest full of memories including some photos of wait for it...

Here's our first look at Sam Drake, Nathan Drake's lost and assumed dead (in the games) brother. Does anyone know who this actor is? Surprising that they showed his face in the trailer let alone the film. I assumed Sam would show up as an end-credit scene in a Spanish prison setting up the next film. Will this actor play a slightly older Sam in the movie? Or will they cast someone else? Does Sam show up in the 3rd act of the film? Lost of questions still to be answered here but I do like from the get-go that Sam is a big part of Nate's motivation to find this treasure and probably has a lot to do with the choices he has made leading up to now.

The ring! Sic Parvis Magna is inscribed on Sir Francis Drake's ring which roughly translates to "Greatness from small beginnings." In the games, Nathan is obsessed with Francis Drake and takes his last name.

Chloe doing what Chloe does. The doublecross, which usually ends up being triplecross. She's arguably the most interesting Uncharted character as she isn't as wholesome as Drake and Sully but often teams up with the bad guys if it helps her achieve her goals. Here we can assume she's stealing the map from Drake in the church tomb.

Looks like Nate and Chloe get close on this adventure which makes sense in the narrative of the games. In Uncharted 2 we get the sense that before Drake meets his eventual wife Elena, that they had a pretty intimate relationship. It's actually nice to see this dance shot here as most of the clips seem related to a heist, or action piece. I'd really dig it if this film slowed down a minute to really get to know our characters a bit.

Sully meet Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). Braddock is likely a hired badass that works for Moncada to help protect him and deal with the pesky Drake and Sully. Glad to see Tati Gabrielle in this role but I hope her character isn't just a bunch of cliche bad guy lines and an excuse to have our hero's get beat up by a woman as a joke.

Is the screen color getting grey? Where's Drake's breathe meter? Let's assume he trying to escape a trap gone wrong which leads him to a really cool shot of a ship in a cave. Wait for it...

Another shot we saw in the teaser trailer and it looks like it's pulled straight out of the Uncharted 4 game. What we know now is that above this cave is a jungle so these ships aren't getting the Goonie's exit. It's a bit more dramatic. Also with a hole in the cave ceiling that big I wonder why no one found these ships already?

This is one of those moments that I wish was held back from being in the trailer or at least just teased. Right before this shot, we see two quick shots of a helicopter with a grapple line and several guys buckling the lines into the ship. Then we see one of Magellan's ships rise from the treeline. This is really cool and a moment I haven't seen in a game or movie before. This leads to the next big action set-piece...

This looks epic! Two of Magellan's ships being ferried by helicopters is a cool moment. I really wish this wasn't spoiled in the trailer. We know Drake snuck onto one of these ships. Let the high-flying action begin.

I think the bad guys know that Drake's on the other ship and happen to have these really dope grapple guns to swing to the other ship like Peter Pan's lost boys. I think the writers have been to many Pirates Dinner Adventures. We are really going all-in on the pirate theme here. Including...

When you are on an old Carrack ship and have a knife you have to slide down the sail...it's basically a bucket list item for pirates and scallywags and Nate Drake apparently. Although doing it while the ships are being flown through the air up's the danger a bit.

This is the first glimpse we see of Nathan Drake taking out a bad guy. While he's holding a gun we don't see him fire it at a bad guy in either the teaser trailer or this one. The flying knee is a solid move and no doubt this guy is not getting back up again. But it's a bit worrisome that we haven't seen any action featuring guns, rockets, or grenades when it's such a big part of the gameplay in the Uncharted games. Does Drake kill hundreds of bad guys like in the games to gain fortune and glory or is this a PG-13 Spider-Man version of Drake that doesn't kill? Even Indiana Jones had to shoot loads of Nazi's to win the day. Let's hope this Uncharted is not too watered down.

Don't fall Drake! Something tells me he's going to be ok. From a trailer standpoint, this is the crescendo moment before the Title hits and it's a bit of a meh moment. I would've chosen a cooler shot. Even the shot from the Teaser trailer when he spins around a rope and fires his gun is cooler than a slow-motion fall cliffhanger. That's ok though the trailer goes all-in for fans after the title.

And here it is. The Victor Sullivan mustache or at least the start of one. It's not quite the full bushy stache that we've come to love from the games. But let's also take note of the green button-down that's classic Sully attire along with the giant 6 shooter hand cannon he carries. Unless there's a decent time jump in the movie this is probably an epilogue moment after the hero's save the day. I'm sure Sony and Playstation wanted this to be a fun reveal at the end of the film but unfortunately, if you read any comments on the internet fans aren't too happy about the mustacheless Mark Walhberg. I'm sure even this won't be enough to quiet the fans... I can hear it now... "where's the cigar!?!".

There you have it. The race for the greatest treasure is on… if they can survive each other first. #UnchartedMovie is exclusively in movie theaters on February 18 starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, and Antonio Banderas.

Let's us know what you think of this second Uncharted Trailer.

If you want to hear what Nolan North, the voice and actor for the Uncharted games, think of the Uncharted films you can watch several episodes from CouchSoup including Trailer Talk where we break down more things.

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